Coping & Family
When a family member is diagnosed with breast cancer, the first reaction is disbelief. How could this be happening? This diagnosis of such magnitude affects every member of the family. It may cause children to "act out" or become distant. It may cause spouses or lovers to do the same. Surprisingly, some lose the support of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, etc. It is not due to loss of love. It is due to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear that they are going to lose you, fear of change and more. What can you do to help the family member cope?
1. Learn as much about your disease as possible, so that you are able to discuss with them the aspects of your disease.
2. Call the family together and tell them about your disease. Tell them what it is and let them know that breast cancer was not the result of something you did or did not do. It is not your fault. Just the fact that you are female is much of the reason, with incidents of BRCA mutations also being a factor in some instances.
3. Tell them what treatments will be necessary in order for you to do battle with the disease.
4. Let them know that there will be physical changes, such as loss of hair, eyebrows, lashes, and take that as far as you feel comfortable. Try to take as much shock out of the physical changes as is possible. If they are aware of what is coming, they will be more apt to accept it.
5. Advise them that due to the treatments, there will be days when you are not going to feel well and may not be yourself. Let them know that you will probably have periods of nausea, vomiting and fatigue. You may want to inform them that there will be times that you may be a little "short" with them, however, it is only because you are not feeling well.
6. Put together an organized list of who will be needed to do what, as far as running the household and taking care of each other and you. It may be necessary to chart everything out.
7. Let them know that having breast cancer is no longer a death sentence and that it is not contagious. Put them at ease as much as possible, to help ease the fear.
8. If it becomes necessary, put them in touch with caregiver support and/or counseling.
Disclaimer: Information presented within the pages of this website is, for the most part, that of my opinion and for informational purposes only and not to be used in place of the advice of your medical provider. You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of your medical provider and to conduct your own research on any topic of interest, for fact finding.